Atlantic Yacht Basin, Inc. is a full service yacht repair and storage facility strategically located on the A&C Canal of the Intracoastal Waterway in Chesapeake, Virginia.
Atlantic Yacht Basin

What Are You Doing Now to Get Ready for the Season?   

It's early March and the weather can't decide what it wants to do.  

Things are getting busier around the Yard, though, as people are taking advantage of our haul out and bottom painting special now running through the end of the month.

Others, whether storing here or stopping by, are already getting their needed work done in order to get out on the water as early in the season as possible.

With spring commissioning time right around the corner, many people are punching out their boat list, because they know the longer they wait, the more time-consuming and potentially expensive the work might be.  

With all trades represented in-house and the ability to haul out on either our railway or travel lift, AYB is able to marshal all kinds of projects simultaneously on your boat with minimal hassle and maximum satisfaction with the results. 

Whether you are just passing through, are located elsewhere, or your boat is already staying with AYB for the off-season, please stop in or get in touch to get a free quote on any work you need.  

You can reach us toll-free at (800) 992-2489 or local at  (757) 482-2141 or drop us a line at to talk about the projects you need to get done on your boat. We'll give you a free quote on the work or help you figure out how you can take advantage of our comprehensive range of marine services and storage options. 

If you are outside of the area, we can also help arrange transport to our facility or recommend a licensed captain to bring the boat in for you via the Waterway.

And as always, we also invite you to find out more about AYB on our website at or like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for interesting updates, tips, and specials going on at the Yard.  

We're excited about getting you(and ourselves) out on the water and hope to see you again soon!

Your Friends At AYB

Meet Captain Charlie Shaw of BRAVE HEART

AYB continues this popular new feature -- an interview with the interesting people and their great boats that visit us here at AYB.  Every year, AYB has the pleasure of hosting Captain Charlie Shaw for the winter season and working on the boat he runs, BRAVE HEART, a 1986 custom 92' Burger.

Left - AYB's James Taylor and Right - Charlie Shaw, Captain of BRAVE HEART.

Well known to everyone on the Yard and to many who travel regularly up and down the East Coast,  Charlie has been a professional captain for over 28 years.  We talked to him recently about his life on BRAVE HEART and what it is like to be full-time captain.

What brings you to AYB?
I am what you would call a "regular."  BRAVE HEART and I come to AYB every off-season to do regular work and maintenance as well as ride out the winter in a safe place.  I trust all of the guys who work on her each year, but we love to give each other a hard time too. BRAVE HEART's home port is Annapolis for much of the year because her owners live in Northern Virginia.  We're underway in different places for a couple of months in total and I typically spend 2-3 months each winter with BRAVE HEART here at AYB. Bringing her out like this every winter lets me get on top of the regular annual needs as well as periodic larger jobs that need to be done. Doing so means that things run much more smoothly during the rest of the year.   Most years she is getting all systems, the engine and hull checked out and serviced, the underneath of the boat fully inspected and repaired, perhaps some bottom painting and then any other major projects that we tackle on a periodic basis.  I stay here with her on the Yard to keep an eye on what is going on and to spend time with my friends at AYB. 

What is the life of a professional captain like? 
Well, obviously I must like it because I have been doing it - either as a charter or full-time captain -- for the last 28 years.  Some things are the same and some things are very different depending on what kind of boat you manage.  I live aboard full-time and most often am a crew of one.  I am responsible for everything - which is one of the worst and one of the best aspects of being a professional captain.  I do love the level of freedom, though, in this life and the fact that things are never the same.  But you have to be ready for anything -- whether you are in port or underway.   There really isn't any such thing as a "typical" day, because you never know what might come up.  I have also mellowed some with age so my own life on the water is a lot calmer these days.  Also, a boat like BRAVE HEART is a big responsibility that I take very seriously.  It is a good life though and one that many people choose for themselves by living aboard their own boats.  I am responsible for everything -- provisioning, scheduling, piloting, maintenance, etc. -- and the same would be true if she were my own boat.  

What is BRAVE HEART's story and how long have you been with her?  
BRAVE HEART is a 1986, custom-built, 92' Burger.  She's got all of the modern amenities you might see in a comfortable house -- a nice living room, wine cooler, dishwasher, satellite TV, etc, -- she even has five bathrooms!  But with all that comfort also comes an incredibly seaworthy vessel with beautiful lines.  People often recognize her wherever we go for that reason.  I have been her captain for 10 years and have a great relationship with BRAVE HEART's owners, who are the 4th set of people to own her.  They treat me like a member of the family and trust my judgment in piloting and taking care of their great boat.

Where do you and BRAVE HEART spend most of your time? 
For about 8 months of the year, when we are based in Annapolis, we spend a lot of time cruising around the Chesapeake -- up to Baltimore and to places like St. Michael's.  I keep a 24' center console boat there to take off in from time to time on my own too.  When her owners are on-board BRAVE HEART, we either spend time traveling around the Bay or head up north to Maine in the summer.  We also occasionally head south, but increasingly we tend to spend more time up north.  And of course, I winter with BRAVE HEART here at AYB.
When we are underway, we mix it up between inland waterways like the ICW or rivers and bigger bodies of water like the Atlantic Ocean or the Bay.  When going south, we tend to take the ICW down to Morehead City and then head out to sea.  On the northbound trip, we head out to open water after the Delaware.  It all depends on weather and how much time I have to get from one place to another. 

When was the last time you lived on dry land? 
I haven't lived on dry land consistently for about 3 decades.  Obviously I spend some time there, but I have lived aboard a boat for a while now.   It's funny too because on dry land I miss the noises that are constants on the boat -- bilge pumps periodically running, water slapping against the hull, other boats, the wind, etc.   When I go to stay at my sister's, for example, it is often too quiet for me without those familiar sounds.  

What are the other people out on the water like?  Any other surprises out there? 
Well, it is really like a a world unto itself, especially for those of us captains or owners who live aboard. In some ways, it is like a big floating neighborhood.  Of course, there is a code out on the water, that we will help each other no matter what.  Everyone understands that their life literally depends on that.  So even if you are total strangers or really dislike someone, you will help them out in any jam and they will do the same for you.  I do run into people I know all over the place and there is often a familiar face in an unexpected spot along the way.  I've seen some wild stuff over the years and negotiated my fair share of crazy scenes -- from negotiating weekend warriors on holiday weekends to threading my way through a regatta of 200 boats on the Chesapeake or riding out a big storm like Irene in Atlantic City.  But generally, people on the water treat each other with respect and it is great to meet and hang out with friends along the way.

If you could have any boat of your own what would it be?  
I'd love to have a sportfishing boat - nothing over 65' - to get out and tool around with on the water. Ironically, I am allergic to seafood, so I don't care as much about the fishing as I do the experience of the boat and the water.  

Do you see yourself living on a boat for the rest of your life?  
Well, I keep saying I will retire someday, but then I extend the year and age I intend to do that!  Eventually I'd like to have a little shack on a piece of land on the water somewhere -- which is a must -- and putter around in my own smaller boat.  But I am really happy where I am right now on BRAVE HEART.

Any place you are dying to see or go in this world? 
I was an Army brat growing up and spent time in the Navy, so I have seen a lot of the world and moved around a lot.  I would say that getting out and seeing more of the United States is definitely on the agenda, but a lot of my wanderlust has already been satisfied in this life.  For me, relaxing and doing very little is always a great way to spend my free time.

Tips from AYB

Scheduling work on your boat properly is one of the toughest things about being a boat captain or owner.  Here's how to do it to save yourself time and money.

1.  Don't Skip Annual or Periodic Maintenance - No matter how careful you are, the marine environment is an inhospitable place for your boat.  Take advantage of off-season storage time to haul your boat out and get a thorough check of all your systems, the engine, and the boat's hull and exterior.  Do scheduled maintenance and repairs consistently and on time. Whether they need to be done semi-annually, annually or every few years, staying on top of your boat's maintenance is like preventive care for your body.  It's always better to keep things running smoothly and to catch things early than it is to end up with a catastrophic situation down the road.

2.  Plan Big Jobs In Advance - During the lifetime of your boat, you will have large-scale repairs, replacements and possible even overhauls on the menu.  Planning for them in advance is the best way to ensure that you will be ready for them - both financially and in terms of not losing valuable time on the water.  Take advantage of your off-water time every year to get work done -- places like AYB are less crowded then and you aren't kept from using your boat when you want it most.   So whether you are a weekend boater or you live aboard, keeping your boat in good running condition means scheduling periodic down time.  That way, you'll be able to address these regular issues as well as ward off emergencies to the best extent possible.

3. Expect the Unexpected - The question is when not if you will have urgent repairs or issues come up with your boat.  Having adequate insurance is part of how you protect against this phenomenon - particularly when facing accidents or damage to your boat.  The other is to make sure that you have kept both tips number 1 and 2 above in mind and acted on them.  Chances are higher that you will be able to handle a surprise a lot better if you have been addressing maintenance and upkeep on a regular basis.   Not only will your wallet thank you, but you will have peace of mind knowing that you are ready for whatever might come.

4. Work With Experienced People & Facilities - AYB gets many new customers every year who have tried working with a less-experienced Yard or repair person only to find themselves in hot water when the work wasn't done properly or was done with inferior parts or poor attention to detail.  Establishing a relationship with a trusted repair facility and having them get to know your boat can save you a lot of hassle down the road.  Places like AYB can often anticipate problems before you do and help you develop a rational plan for dealing with them.  For this reason, even when people sell their boats, they either come back with their new boats or the new owners will come to AYB because of that knowledge, history and track record.

Meet Our Crew 

Every e-newsletter, we highlight one of the interesting and highly experienced people who make Atlantic Yacht Basin the interesting place that it is.  This time it's Rich Bowling, Manager of our Marine Store, who has been with AYB for almost 8 years.  

Rich spends some of his downtime with a favored four-wheeled friend.. Photo courtesy of Nicole Bowling - Copyright 2013.

Where are you from?
I have lived in Chesapeake since I was about 4 years old and graduated from Western Branch High School.  I spent some time in the Army and was stationed in Germany, where I met my wife of 10 years, Nicole.  We live here in Chesapeake again with our three kids - Isaiah, 9, Amy, 7, and Daniel, 6.   When I started at AYB, we had one child and now we have three!

What brought you to AYB?  
I came in a greenhorn about boats and have learned a lot over my time here from guys who have decades of experience under their belts.  What really attracted me to AYB was the culture and the fact that so many people had been here for so long. The guys in the Shops and I tend to haze each other a little, but it's a great place to work.  The steady nature of the place and its history also really appealed to me.  It's good to be part of something like that. 

What is it like running an in-house marine store in a working Yard like AYB? 
It's a funny balance between keeping bench stock in inventory that we need on the Yard all the time and bringing in special things for specific jobs in incredibly tight timeframes.  To use corny metaphors, sometimes it is like running a three-ring circus and other times, it is pulling a really hard-to-get rabbit out of the hat.   For vintage boats in particular, finding needed parts, functional pieces or decorative elements is like a treasure hunt.  And there is always the time factor.  I once had to order a part to come in from China overnight -- the logistics on something like that are pretty wild.  Most of our customers are transient though or a job is on a specific schedule, so time is always of the essence.   We keep regular things in stock and then we can special order every part of a boat from whatever goes under the water to the top of the nav light!

What are your favorite boats and companies to work with?  
I like working with all kinds of different boats and companies.  But the easiest and best are the ones like Hatteras that plan to have a lifetime relationship with their customers.   Companies like that that build a boat and then stock the parts and components for years to come are my favorite.  It is also always easiest to work with companies like Hatteras that are based in the United States.  Unfortunately, regardless of location, some builders sort of wash their hands of the boat once it is finished and sold.   The hardest boats to work with are the ones that were built far away or by companies that no longer exist.  Fortunately, I have a lot of allies throughout the marine supply world like Paxton, Full Throttle or Marine Pro.  We all call one another for advice and to source hard-to-find parts and products so that helps a lot.  AYB regularly sources parts and components for both current and vintage boats and we enjoy the challenge of doing so.

What about the owners and captains? 
I enjoy interacting with owners and captains who really care about their boats and who focus on quality.  It is harder to work with people who are looking to cut corners on either the parts they use or the work they have done.  Even though we focus on giving people competitive pricing, in the end, it costs them more in terms of time and money to insist first on the cheapest route.  Lots of people call AYB for advice from James Taylor or one of our Shops even when they aren't here with us.  The same is true of the Marine Store - people like the relationship they have with AYB, know we can usually help them with a challenging situation with their boat and trust that we won't steer them wrong.  It's a good feeling to know you are working in a place where that is the case. 

How did you get interested in boats?  
I grew up in a Navy family so I had been around boats my whole life.  When it came time for me to enlist, though, I chose the Army.  This was mainly because I didn't want to wear the "Cracker Jack" uniform I had seen my dad in for so many years.  I regretted that choice as soon as I spent my first rainy nights in a puddle-filled foxhole, but by then it was too late.  I like boats a lot and would love to have one of my own someday.  Right now though, I spend a lot of time on dry land with my family.  I like being safe and secure at home right now while they are young.

What do you enjoy doing in your "off" time? 
We have three kids under ten so I am not sure there is ever any real "off" time. Seriously though, I like spending time with my wife and kids as well as skateboarding and playing guitar. But my wife Nicole is the real talent in the family.  She used to be a professional back up singer with groups like La Bouche and can rock your socks off with her vocals.  It's fun to play with her and hear her sing -- not everyone has fun like that at home, right?  

Calendar of Events

Boating & Nautical Events 
The Mariners' Museum, Newport News, VA
This occasional series highlights important dates surrounding the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia.  Mariners' Museum staff and volunteers will present these informative, illustrated lectures at 1:00 p.m. in the Museum's Roper Theater.  These lectures are free with Museum admission.  Click here for more details.  

The 37th Annual Norfolk Harborfest® 
Thursday, June 6-Sunday, Jun 9, 2013 
Town Point Park along the Downtown Norfolk Waterfront

The Festival kicks off with the return of the AT&T HarborFEAST Seafood Sampler on Thursday, June 6th from 6pm-9pm and continues through the weekend with 3 full days of FREE, fresh, family-friendly FUN!  From the HarborFEAST to the Parade of Sail to Fireworks and more, Harborfest is an unforgettable experience.  Click here  for more details or to purchase tickets for paid events associated with the weekend.

Other Local Events
Chesapeake Planetarium presents "Cosmic Symphony"
Every Thursday in March 2013 at 8:00 p.m. 
Chesapeake Planetarium
Let your imagination wander among the stars as cosmic visuals dance before your eyes and the wonders of the night sky are played against selections of classical and pop music on the Planetarium's powerful sound system.   Click here for more details on this weekly event recurring on Thursdays in March at the Planetarium, located at 310 Shea Drive, Chesapeake, VA.

Yuengling Shamrock Marathon Weekend
March 16-17, 2013
Virginia Beach Oceanfront

From the Anthem Half Marathon, the TowneBank 8k and the Operation Smile Final Mile to the 26.2 mile main event, enjoy a full weekend of races and festivities in Virginia Beach.  There's a distance for everyone and whether you are a spectator or a participant, this weekend is exciting for all.  Click here to find out more details. 

Dismal Swamp Stomp Half Marathon and 5th Annual Children's Half-Mile Cub Run 
Saturday, April 13, 2013 
Chesapeake, VA

It's the 7th Annual Dismal Swamp Stomp Half-Marathon and the 5th Annual Children's Half-Mile Cub Run in beautiful Chesapeake, VA  The flat 13.1-mile course will take runners on a spectacular wilderness journey through lush, mysterious landscape and rich history.  Stomp through forested wetlands on a peaceful paved path along the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.  Running parallel to the course is the Dismal Swamp Canal, part of the famed Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway.  Click here for more details.

Paddle for the Border - Registration Now Open for Annual Event 
10th Annual Dismal Swamp Paddle  
May 4, 2013
Click here for details. 

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